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Artifacts and AllegiancesHow Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display$
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Peggy Levitt

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520286061

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520286061.001.0001

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The Legislator and the Priest

The Legislator and the Priest

Cosmopolitan Nationalism in Boston and New York

(p.50) 2 The Legislator and the Priest
Artifacts and Allegiances

Peggy Levitt

University of California Press

This chapter examines how the global in relation to the national is showcased in Boston and New York museums. More specifically, it considers how the Brooklyn Museum in New York City and the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston represent diversity and teach cosmopolitan values and skills. It discusses cosmopolitan nationalism in the Brooklyn Museum and the MFA with several other museums in New York and Boston, including the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and the Queens Museum and El Museo del Barrio, both in New York City. It explores how, in these museums, the national gets cosmopolitanized through its internal diversity and how such diversity gets connected to the world at large. It suggests that what museums do in New York and Boston is also indicative of how the United States sees itself in the world, with particular emphasis on the tension between seemingly competing imperatives: to embrace cosmopolitanism while at the same time celebrating American exceptionalism.

Keywords:   museums, Brooklyn Museum, New York City, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, diversity, cosmopolitan nationalism, cosmopolitanism, American exceptionalism, Peabody Essex Museum

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